Jun 23, 2011

Shoreline Changes on an Urban Atoll in the Central Pacific Ocean: Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands

Murray Ford
Journal of Coastal Research
  • States that Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands, is considered highly vulnerable to sea level rise
  • Presents an analysis of shoreline change over a 34- to 37-year study period, characterized by rapidly increasing population, coastal development, and rising sea level (3.0 mm y−1)
  • Results show most (93%) urban and rural villages have increased in size over the study period
  • Shoreline change analysis indicates the urban area has expanded both toward the lagoon and onto the ocean-facing reef flat
  • Finds that rural areas of the atoll typically have lower rates of shoreline change relative to those of urban areas
  • Analysis indicates that the rural lagoon shore is predominantly eroding, whereas the ocean-facing shore is largely accreting
  • Finds that any shoreline response to sea level rise along the Majuro coast is likely masked by widespread anthropogenic impacts to the coastal system